Carnegie Mellon University

Judicial Politics and Behavior

Course Number: 84-602

This course is a survey of research and insight into one of the most unique American government institutions: the judiciary. Rather than exclusively reading case law (as one would do in a Constitutional Law class), this course examines court structure, rules of law and, most importantly, judges as actors within an institutional setting. We will focus on how rules, norms, and expectations guide the decisions, actions, and range of options available to judges. Here we will study the nature of judicial decision-making and its antecedents, the organization of the judicial branch and its implications for behavior, and the strategic interactions both within courts and between the courts and the more "political" branches of government. The course will look at state and federal courts within the United States, supplemented with examples from international jurisdictions. Material from law, history, economics, political science, sociology, and psychology will be introduced throughout the semester. Although some of the literature uses empirical and/or game theoretical models, students are not expected to have mastered these tools prior to taking the course.

Academic Year: 2022-2023
Required/Elective: Elective
Units: 12
Location(s): Pittsburgh

Spring 2023
Tuesday and Thursday
3:30 - 4:50 PM

Counts towards the following CMIST degree:
Master of Science in International Relations and Politics (American Politics concentration)